Good morning! I’m Cynthia McClain-Hill, President of the Board of Water and Power Commissioners. Thank you all for joining us today for this special event, and I especially want to thank our special guests, elected officials, colleagues on the board, our partners in labor, and friends.
Thirteen years ago, the LADWP family convened right here in front of this magnificent building to unveil the 16-foot-long glass memorial that bears the names of our employees who died providing electricity and water service to the people of Los Angeles.
We gather today 100 years after the names of fallen LADWP workers were first recorded, to add three new names to our memorial and to once again honor the more than 220 of our own men and women whose dedication and commitment to their work, resulted in the ultimate sacrifice.
The LADWP Fallen Worker Memorial was commissioned in 2009 through the leadership of former general manager David Nahai who is here today.
As is often the case at DWP, the idea came from an employee, Senior Plumber Paul Abram, who had lost two dear friends and colleagues in the line of duty. He shared his thoughts during a meeting with then General Manager Nahai, noting how other city agencies like LAPD and the LA Fire Department had formal recognitions for their fallen.
He was right. And so a memorial was built right here in front of our headquarters by LADWP craftsmen so that we all would never forget.
David, thank you for honoring our fallen and for your leadership. Please stand and be recognized.
Most Angelenos are unaware of the many hazards that come with delivering water and power to our city. But our employees understand the importance of these services to daily life and take great pride in their work. Highly-skilled crews leave their families every day and manage the risks of handling high voltage and highly pressurized equipment, climbing poles and steep inclines in the rain, during extreme heat and high winds. They work in enclosed spaces and around dangerous chemicals to ensure every customer receives the water and power they need to survive and thrive. Their dedication and commitment is on par with the men and women who fight fires and police our streets, but they are often unsung heroes.
To our unsung heroes, today we pause and say THANK YOU. THANK YOU for your service, THANK you for your bravery, and THANK YOU to your families for sharing each of you with us. We are proud of you and grateful for your service.
The fallen employees we honor today didn’t make it home. Many of us here knew these men and women personally. They are after all a part of our team, a term that is truly reflective of our department’s culture. Our employees look out for each other, celebrate the successes of their peers, and grieve together when they experience loss.
And so to the family members of the fallen, several of whom are here today, please know that the sacrifice your loved one made will never be forgotten. We cannot imagine your pain. But here at LADWP, we thank you for sharing them with us.
May you find comfort in knowing that they each touched our lives and served our City honorably. Thank you so much for being here to help us salute your loved ones and pay them the respect they so deeply deserve.
LADWP will always remember.
Before we continue, I want to take a minute to recognize our partners in labor for helping make today possible and for the key role they play in helping to keep our employees and workplaces safe. (Thank and recognize Gus Corona and the IBEW team)
I also want to recognize our LADWP Choraliers for today’s music and for helping us express through song our gratitude to those we remember.
And of course, to the Los Angeles Fire Department Honor Guard, Michelle Artiga Rivera, and the Girls Academic Leadership Academy, thank you for opening our ceremony with fitting honors.